JUL 16, 2019 6:11 AM PDT

Can Scientists Create a Blood Test to Screen for Alzheimer's Risk?

WRITTEN BY: Tiffany Dazet

Currently, to gauge the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, patients must undergo brain scans, spinal fluid tests, or mental assessments; all of which can be cost-prohibitive, invasive, or impractical for particular patients. For years, the “holy grail” of Alzheimer’s risk screening has been a blood test. As demonstrated by research groups at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference this week, scientists are reportedly getting closer to attaining this goal. 

The Association’s chief science officer, Maria Carrillo, told Associated Press reporters, “we need something quicker and dirtier. It doesn’t have to be perfect.” Of the six research groups that presented their results on experimental tests so far, one group reported theirs to be 88% accurate in indicating Alzheimer’s risk. More specifically, it correctly identified 92% of people who had Alzheimer’s and ruled out 85% who did not. According to Dr. Akinori Nakamura from the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, these results match the accuracy of three types of brain scans and a mental assessment currently in use.

Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, told AP reporters that the blood tests would be used to choose and monitor patients for federally funded studies; it will take more time to establish the blood tests’ value in routine medical care. The AP article states that doctors suspect that some studies may have enrolled patients with different problems or with too much brain damage from the disease already. A quick and accurate blood test could accelerate and ensure the correct placement of patients in these studies.

Dr. Randall Bateman of Washington University’s School of Medicine told AP reporters that a screening test could be available in just three years. He stated, “everyone’s finding the same thing…the results are remarkably similar across countries, across techniques.” The results of his research on a blood test that he helped develop will be presented later in the conference. 

Source: Associated Press
 

About the Author
  • Tiffany grew up in Southern California, where she attended San Diego State University. She graduated with a degree in Biology with a marine emphasis, thanks to her love of the ocean and wildlife. With 13 years of science writing under her belt, she now works as a freelance writer in the Pacific Northwest.
You May Also Like
OCT 04, 2021
Cancer
Good News for Coffee Lovers: A New Study Finds Caffeine Does Not Impact Breast Cancer Risk
OCT 04, 2021
Good News for Coffee Lovers: A New Study Finds Caffeine Does Not Impact Breast Cancer Risk
Reports indicate that caffeine consumption in the United States is greatest in adults aged 50 – 64.  Coincide ...
OCT 12, 2021
Health & Medicine
Atopic Dermatitis: A Harbinger of Autoimmune Diseases?
OCT 12, 2021
Atopic Dermatitis: A Harbinger of Autoimmune Diseases?
New research published in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology found an increased risk of autoimmune disease develo ...
OCT 13, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms
OCT 13, 2021
Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms
Harmful algal blooms, or HABs, are a common summertime nuisance for people that live near fresh or saltwater all over th ...
OCT 14, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Itchy, red, dry eyes? FDA approves monthly implant for allergic conjunctivitis
OCT 14, 2021
Itchy, red, dry eyes? FDA approves monthly implant for allergic conjunctivitis
The conjunctiva is a thin membrane that covers the front of the eyes and the inner eyelids. The conjunctiva produces tea ...
OCT 17, 2021
Microbiology
Harmless Microbes Can be Pressured to Turn Bad
OCT 17, 2021
Harmless Microbes Can be Pressured to Turn Bad
The world is full of microorganisms. Luckily, most pose no threat to us. But some harmless bacteria have the potential t ...
OCT 20, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Building Better Crops: Pumpkin and Squash
OCT 20, 2021
Building Better Crops: Pumpkin and Squash
It’s the time of year for all things pumpkin. But what do you really know about pumpkins? They are generally consi ...
Loading Comments...